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My father used to work as a Special Agent for the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) in the 1960′s and 1970′s, back when the Bureau evolved from chasing toothless moonshiners though the Alabama woods with axe handles and into the baddest-assed of the federal bureaus in the entire world. The ATF is bigger and badder than even the FBI, with unlimited powers to enforce any federal statute. Anyway, a few years ago, after he’d retired, my dad told me about a case that he’d investigated in the mid-1970′s concerning an ATF agent out of Detroit. The agent in question appeared to be hanging around a lot of disreputable characters, more so than he should have been, and his car kept turning up at various nefarious locations any time of the day or night. At first it was a simple investigation on ATF’s part, determining if the agent was merely doing his duty – or whether he’d “broke bad.”
The case dragged on for months, and the more my father and his fellow ATF agents learned about the Detroit agent, the more they became convinced that he was dirty. What was finally revealed was a federal agent who committed armed robbery, who trafficked in international heroin sales, who was involved in fraud, extortion and other assorted violent crimes. The agent had not only plotted to rob a Brinks truck, he even threatened to blow up Detroit Airport unless he was paid $1,000,000! Bad? Hell, this agent was not just bad – he was bad like Jesse James.
The result of all this has now become my first published novel titled (what else) BAD, LIKE JESSE JAMES. It tells the amazingly true story of a massively corrupt federal agent who sold stolen weapons and explosives to known criminals; who ran with murderers, thieves and bootleggers, and who ruled much of’ Detroit’s heroin trade with cold-blooded reckless abandon – all while hiding behind his badge. BAD, LIKE JESSE JAMES tells the true story of a very, very bad man and how the dogged determination of two ATF agents eventually brought him down.
To read excerpts from the book, and for more information, please visit the blog
Thanks, Jim Yoakum